ENGLEWOOD, Ohio (July 28, 2016) – An Englewood police badge is always on the front of the Officer Bill Davenport Memorial Blood Drive t-shirt. But this year’s fifth anniversary t-shirt had a special message on the back. As Bill’s son Brett explained it, “This year it’s all about the blood.”
The Davenport family began the blood drive in 2012, the year after Bill lost his 10-year battle with multiple myeloma, a cancer that attacks plasma cells in the bone marrow. The fifth anniversary blood drive on July 28 at the Englewood Government Center continued the mission of honoring his memory, raising awareness and money for the fight against blood disease, and boosting Community Blood Center’s mid-summer blood supply.
Over that five-year history 240 people have registered to donate, resulting in 196 blood donations. This year the Davenports chose burgundy for the family t-shirt because it is the awareness color for multiple myeloma, and they also put the donation totals on the back.
“This is a monumental year for us, five years strong!” said Brett Davenport who serves as the blood drive coordinator. “They always say one donation can save up to three lives,” he said, explaining the line on the back of the shirt that reads, “Total Lives Saved: 588.” The next line needed no explanation: “Bill would be so proud!”
Bill’s widow Joann Davenport collected tickets for the 50-50 raffle to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, another traditional part of the blood drive. “We just want to send something to LLS to help anyone with blood cancer,” she said. “They have programs that help a lot, and they helped us a lot.”
Perhaps the best celebration of the milestone was by Bill’s daughter Angela Davenport. Petit and fair-skinned like her mom, she has been deferred from donating at every previous Bill Davenport Memorial Blood Drive for low weight or hemoglobin restrictions. But this year she was able to make her first lifetime donation in honor of her dad.
“I didn’t know how I’d feel,” she said. “I know it different for everybody. But I’m glad I did it and I feel OK!”
Angela wasn’t the only first-time donor. Her friend Amber Howard from Vandalia signed up after seeing Angela’s Facebook posting, and Brett recruited fellow Kettering Firefighter Juston Wilson.
The final tribute was to see the potential number of lives saved increase once gain. The 2016 Bill Davenport Blood Drive was stronger than ever with 54 donors and 46 donations for 115 percent of goal. As the shirt proclaims, “Bill would be so proud!”